Ah... Finally some people think as I do.
I got to VS through Privateer Remake. (I loved Privateer, that got my attention).
I proposed a Dynamic Economy and some believable
politics. Nobody liked it. I now understand why: PR is devoted to recreate Privateer, not to enhance it. I would much like to see it enhanced, but other people don't.
Now, I find you who do want what I want. Well, I had some ideas as to how to make it. It's not that
difficult, it can all be done in python I think. But does require a lot of research about how people interact, react to political changes, and that kind of stuff.
Anyway, now that I know you will appreciate it, as soon as I finish what I'm doing right now (sound system and planet textures - I was reading the thread because of that), I'll get working on it and try to propose an economic/political model. It'll be fun.
Back to planet textures: Interesting idea, the plazoom, but I think it could get too complicated. I would prefer a custom interpolator approach. I had thought of a similar idea when pifactorial showed me the thread:
When addressing a texel (in a pixel shader), access also the neighbour texels. Now, if an edge is detected (tweak this), use a fractal function to create a sharp, non-regular contour for it instead of the classic cubic interpolator. This would work well for planetary surfaces which always exhibit fractal-like shapes. If a continuous tone is detected (not an edge), use another kind of fractal (perhaps perlin noise) to create a parametric detail texture, and modulate the basic texture with it.
It would be a quite heavy pixel shader, but would only be required when rendering the planet up close, so it wouldn't impact on performance in other situations. And in those situations, it usually is just the planet showing, so it shouldn't be such an overwhelming task.
With careful tweaking, it could have the potential of eliminating pixelation entirely. What do you think?
PS: The contour thing is tricky, but I have some ideas of how to implement it best. Hardest problem is that I've never worked with fractals, so I can't code that. But I can use perlin noise instead and then replace that with fractals. Why not?
BTW: Impressive thread hijack given that this other issue was
kinda off topic, but not worthy of its own thread